Overcoming Obstacles in Men’s Ministry
By the Man in the Mirror Team
We surveyed hundreds of men’s ministry leaders and pastors around the country about their ministry needs, challenges, and successes. Once we collected all the responses, two needs rose to the top of the list: how to get more men engaged in spiritual growth and relationships, and how to have a stronger leadership team.
These are the primary obstacles in men’s ministry that leaders are facing, along with solutions to help!
Obstacle #1: Lack of Engagement by Men
These leaders were looking for ways to get their men more engaged in discipleship activities—and this survey was done before restrictions related to COVID-19 hit. Certainly, that need is even more widely felt now.
In our No Man Left Behind training, we talk about the importance of “creating value” for men to get them engaged.
There is a tremendous volume of noise in our lives. All week long we are bombarded. It’s no wonder men rarely take time for spiritual self-examination. As a result, many men are spiritually stationary. A huge challenge for us as leaders is to get guys out of their comfortable patterns.
Discipleship is a spiritual journey, and as the saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” So how do we get men to take that first step—or for some, the next step—in this spiritual journey?
We have to engage men’s attention by offering them something they’ll find valuable. Tired men need to believe that getting involved will be worth the effort. Busy men need to believe that of all the opportunities clamoring for their time, the one you are offering them is top notch. In short, you have to show them the value of getting engaged.
Ask yourself: What types of men am I trying to reach? What kinds of things will interest them?
For some men, it may be an event or fun group activity, while for another man it may be as simple as one-on-one time over coffee. Anything that helps a man overcome his spiritual—and relational—inertia is a success!
And then once the comfortable pattern of disengagement is interrupted, it’s your job to provide the next step to capture the momentum that’s been created.
What can you do this year to create valuable opportunities for men to get engaged—whether virtually or in person?
Here are some ideas to engage men…
Start a group book study with our discounted books program.* One church recently decided to hold their group meetings in the church parking lot as a socially-distanced tailgate party! Another group started meeting in a park and bringing their own food to grill. This is a great time to think outside the box to make group meetings more relaxed and relational.
If you have a leadership team in place, kick off your ministry efforts with the all-new Success That Matters event. This event can be done in person or over Zoom; no matter which format you use, each man will have the opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel and join a six-week follow-up group—the next step is already built in for you and the curriculum is included!
If the men in your church haven’t been able to gather in a while, plan a fun outdoor activity (when able), such as a corn hole tournament or bonfire. A low-pressure social event is a good opportunity to help them get reconnected, as well as invite their neighbors, coworkers, and friends from outside the church. Once there, be sure to give every guy a “next step” before they leave that they can easily take to stay engaged.
For men who prefer to meet virtually right now, we offer FREE men’s Bible studies on video with corresponding discussion questions that you can use with a group. Learn more about how to make the most of your virtual time together.
If you sense that a particular man might prefer or need one-on-one time, invite him to go through The Christian Man Mentoring Experience with you or another mature believer who is willing to commit 12 weeks to building the relationship and going through the study.
No matter what you do to get men engaged, don’t skip the most important step: a personal invite. Read more about the power of a personal invite here.
Obstacle #2: Lack of Ministry Leadership
The leaders we surveyed reported that they need 1) more leaders, 2) more training, and 3) more time, as existing leaders are busy volunteers.
Here are resources to help your church meet your leadership needs…
GO: Jumpstart Your Ministry to Men is designed for the pastor or leader who is ready to jumpstart men’s discipleship! In just nine weeks, we’ll help you cast vision, recruit a team of leaders, provide basic training, and engage your men with a simple event and four-week video study (can be done virtually as needed).
If your church already has a leadership team and is looking for training to develop a custom ministry plan, our No Man Left Behind training is your right next step. You can complete this online, as a DVD-based study, or in a one-day simulcast training—the next one-day training is scheduled for Saturday, March 27th. Email us for registration information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We know you’re busy; most men’s leaders are trying to reach and disciple men in the margins of a week already crowded with work, family time, and obligations. That’s why we’re building and deploying a team of Man in the Mirror Area Directors in communities all over the country to provide coaching and support to leaders at no cost to the church. Look for an Area Director in your region.
THE BIG IDEA: God is faithful. If He has called you to disciple men (and He has), He will provide a way for you to overcome the obstacles before you.